If you’re seeking an Uber car accident lawyer because of a ride-sharing accident, you need to know your rights.
The advent of ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft has raised new questions for car accident litigation: who is liable? New York car accidents in an Uber, Lyft or other ride-share vehicle are special cases with their own set of rules and circumstances, and must be litigated differently.
Uber, Lyft, and similar apps, as well as insurance companies, have one central goal: to maximize profits. They want to avoid paying out insurance policies and compensation whenever possible, and will do everything they can to fight claims made against them. Because these companies retain large teams of legal experts, they have an enormous advantage. In order to fight these big companies and get the compensation you deserve, you need a personal injury lawyer who understands your rights and will fight for them with the same level of expertise.
Ride-sharing services like Uber are generally classed as “technology companies,” which means they’re not necessarily subject to the same regulations as transportation services. As drivers of private cars, we are typically held liable if we are negligent and cause an accident, and taxi companies often bear the liability for their drivers.
But Uber vehicles and drivers are regulated differently than traditional taxi services, since Uber vehicles are owned and operated by their individual drivers. Uber drivers are not employees, but independent contractors—a strategic move designed to allow the company to distance itself from the actions of its drivers, and deny liability. In the past, Uber has attempted to take the corporate stance that they are simply a platform that connects independent-contractor drivers with riders—they don’t want to bear the responsibility for accidents caused by distracted, incompetent or scofflaw drivers, or by poorly maintained vehicles.
However, a series of highly publicized accidents and lawsuits has led to the company’s current “safe ride fee,” which is folded into the cost of an Uber ride and ostensibly covers the costs of various safety measures including background checks, vehicle screenings, and safety education courses for their drivers.
Today, Uber carries a large, $1 million insurance policy with various rules for drivers, passengers, and third parties. The coverage depends on the driver’s availability status and actions at the time of the accident:
If an Uber driver is using their vehicle for their own purposes and is not available to pick up passengers, only their own private insurance policy and New York state law will apply—Uber claims no responsibility.
If the driver is available to pick up passengers, but isn’t carrying anyone when they get in an accident, both the driver’s personal insurance and Uber’s policy come into play. Most of the damages will be covered by the driver’s insurance, while Uber provides additional contingency liability coverage up to $50,000 per injury (to a maximum of $100,000), and up to $25,000 in property damages.
Legal assistance from a personal injury lawyer can help you take advantage of this coverage, which is only available upon request, and only if the driver’s private insurance doesn’t provide adequate coverage.
If the Uber driver is carrying an Uber passenger and gets into an accident, the passengers, the driver, and any injured third parties are all covered under Uber’s $1 million liability policy. If the driver is found to be uninsured, Uber has a separate policy for these damages as well.
Uber’s adoption of a large insurance policy seems reassuring, but the legal status of Uber’s corporate responsibility for serious accidents is still evolving. Various lawsuits have been initiated against the company throughout the country, but no final assignment of liability that will apply to all scenarios has been determined yet. Despite the fact that the company now carries a hefty insurance policy, case after case has shown that battling Uber in court is a tough fight. Uber’s insurance policy’s carrier is dedicated to resisting pay-outs on as many claims as possible. Getting compensation from any insurance company is difficult, and that’s all the more true for a company like Uber that wants to refuse liability and maximize profits whenever possible.
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, you’ll need guidance from an attorney to get the support you need. Mr. Albert has been litigating car accident cases for the entirety of his 20-year career and has successfully handled every kind of vehicle accident, including ride-sharing accidents.
For more information, please contact the Law Offices of Marc S. Albert today to schedule your free car accident consultation. Mr. Albert serves clients throughout the New York City metropolitan area from his offices in Queens, Manhattan, and Long Island. He’ll make sure don’t miss any of the important legal deadlines, and that you receive the medical benefits you are entitled to under law, and fair compensation for medical bills, lost income, and related damages.
Throughout his career, Mr. Albert has developed a strong track record of success, earning lucrative verdicts and settlements for many of his clients. This experience will give you the edge you need when seeking to maximize your compensation.